After yesterday’s almost summer-like temperatures, today’s high is forecast to reach only 73°F. The forecast calls for virtually no chance of rain. A light breeze should make the moderate temperatures feel cooler, by a degree or two, than the “real feel” temperatures discussed by some television meteorologists. In other words, we might as well be in Hawaii or Ajijic or the Canary Islands or San Diego. But, instead, we reside in the Natural State; Arkansas, United States of America.

Today’s weather is compensation for last last’s howling winds and piercing NOAA weather-radio reminders that we were under a tornado watch. The screams of the radio interrupted my inadequate sleep more than once, but I have grown so used to them that I do not even try to listen carefully to the subsequent alerts, most of which are clogged with static and unrelated noise. It’s highly possible I could ignore a tornado warning of “take cover now!” failing to take heed of the warnings I paid to hear when I bought the radio more than seven years ago.


Time sails by at incomprehensible speed. Or is it Time? What robs us of experiences, leaving reality to memories and causing us to grip the sides of the roller-coaster we ride at breakneck speed as we reach the summit and plummet, ever-faster, toward hard, unforgiveable ground? What leaves us breathless in disbelief that so much experience in our memories could have taken place in such a short period? And, then, to realize that the vehicle has no brakes; only an accelerator pedal that senses pressure even when there is none?

Mortality lumbers through every day, its pace growing slower by the hour as we are forced to watch it shuffle by and stare at us. As if we constitute its next appointment. I wonder whether there is a physica-spiritual connection between Mortality and Time. That is, do the laws of physics intersect with what I’ll call our “spiritual” dimensions, so that we observe Time through a spiritually-influenced lens? It’s probably all physics, but we have learned so little about how physics and chemistry present themselves in the form of emotions. We have to rely on spirituality to explain the inexplicable. So, we make things up about experiences or wishes or fears we do not understand. It makes sense, but it smells a little like magic.

I loathe the concept of mortality, at least where my family and friends and I come in. There is no place for it in a truly happy existence, all the philosophical arguments to the contrary notwithstanding. The most spectacular joy need not be emphasized by contrast to the most excruciating agony; it’s simply not necessary. But that seems to be the way it goes. Exultation seems to require disconsolate grief for verification of its validity and strength.  The concept is similar to “you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Well, unless you take “what you got” for granted, that may be true. But if you value everything that matters and acknowledge that value regularly, you “know what you’ve got.” And you cherish it. So I say on this Monday morning in late October, 2021. How did such a long span of year simply vaporize into fragmented memories that seem disconnected and fuzzy and without beginning or end? How, indeed.


I am extremely fortunate in almost every way. I have enough health, enough wealth, enough desire, and enough attraction to keep me from sinking into the abyss. That’s all we really need. “Enough.” Enough of whatever keeps us reasonably safe and sufficiently content to want to get up in the morning to explore what the day has to offer.

Almost everything could be better, of course. Better health, more wealth, more passion, and more appeal. But, given the limitations on every aspect of who I am, I feel extremely lucky. I feel equally as bereft at times, though; every time my late wife’s memory floods my brain, tears flood my eyes. But perhaps I was wrong about the need for contrast in our emotions in order to emphasize the extremes. Maybe those hard, harsh, almost intolerable pokes with sharp weapons are necessary to illustrate just how healing those physical and mental strokes are.


I could go on about this all day long. But I do not have time. I have an appointment with an ENT doctor this morning (probably wasted time, if my past experience is any indication) and I have to go grocery shopping early enough to get the ingredients for what I hope will be a spectacular Greek salad. So, it’s off to more coffee and action, action, action!

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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